Maque Choux is the traditional south Louisiana dish that lets you eat your way through all the corn, bell peppers, and tomatoes that summer generously provides. Sauteed in a little bacon fat and cooked down in chicken broth it’s a side dish that even the vegetable phobic will like. In short, if your backyard vegetable garden looks like the Little Shop of Horrors this will give you an incentive to harvest and cook.
My original thought was to post the traditional recipe minus the weirder modern accretions like toasted sesame oil, heavy cream and jalapenos. Ideally be prepared with ingredients already in your garden or kitchen. Once you’ve picked or bought them it’s time to start making the Soup Maque Choux. The idea for transforming it into a soup came to mind in mid prep and it turned out to be a good one. I went for a light base (no heavy cream) but with plenty of veg to make it filling.
To start you need to roast the corn which I did in the oven. Just rinse or soak the unshucked cobs for a minute and lay them directly on the rack in a medium oven. No need to wrap in foil, the damp shuck will provide enough cover to steam. If anyone nearby has the bbq pit fired up you could throw the cobs on for some extra flavor. After about 30 minutes they’ll come out looking like this after which you’ll cut the kernels off and transfer to a bowl.
While the corn is roasting (wherever it is roasting), throw the bacon in a big soup pot and cook until brown. Remove & set aside. Then add the butter and throw in all the veg you’ve chopped (except for the tomato) and saute for over medium heat for five minutes or so.
Next add the flour and stir in well. When that’s done gradually add half the chicken broth and half the corn kernels.
Stir to incorporate and then for the last step dump the remaining chicken broth into a blender with the rest of the corn. Puree the hell out of it and put a strainer over the pot and pour. Press down and try to extract as much corn goodness as you can out of the broth before you toss the remains. Add the seasonings, stir well and cover. You should let it bubble over low heat for at least twenty minutes but it can go for longer.
To serve ladle it into the bowl and mound the fresh chopped tomato in the middle with the crispy bacon on top. Anoint with paprika or cayenne or both and be sure and position your head directly above the bowl as there will be drips as you slurp your way to the bottom.
- 4 ears of corn
- 2 rashers of bacon
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- ½ cup onion, diced
- ½ cup green bell pepper, diced
- ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
- 4 cups chicken broth (canned or homemade, if canned, use 2 cans)
- 2 inch piece of thyme or ½ tsp. dried
- salt & cayenne pepper to taste
- several gratings of nutmeg
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup diced tomatoes for garnishing
- Soak the partially shucked corn in water and place in a 350 oven for 20 minutes.
- While the corn is cooking cut the bacon into small pieces, place in a pot over medium heat and fry until brown.
- Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and add butter then stir in onion and bell pepper.
- Add flour & cook for a minute then gradually add chicken broth.
- When the corn is cooked cut the kernels off of 2 ears.
- Put one can (2 cups) of chicken broth into a blender, add the corn and puree.
- Put a strainer over the soup pot and add. Discard the contents of the strainer.
- Add the remaining two cups of broth and cut corn, season to taste, cover and let simmer on low for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Garnish with diced tomato and serve.